The Blue Mountain Village was a buzz of activity this week - but perhaps not the activity it is used to seeing in early June.
Village businesses have been closed or reduced to grab-and-go options since early April due to the province's stay-at-home order that was brought on by the pandemic.
This week business owners and staff are finally gearing up to welcome guests back as the province moves into stage one of its reopening plan on Friday.
“Village restaurant owners and staff are very excited to reopen and welcome guests,” said Patti Kendall, director of marketing and events at Blue Mountain Village Association. “Patios will be avaliable on a first-come, first-serve basis and public health permits four people per table."
Retail operations are also able to reopen under stage one, but must maintain 15 per cent indoor capacity. Kendall asks visitors to pay attention to signs and information at each business entrance.
She added that capacity and traffic flow on the village grounds will be managed for safety.
“At times we may need to redirect guests if a particular area is congested. During the shutdown we’ve taken measures to re-design entrances and seating areas for better flow management and refreshed the one-way and two-way pathways. We have more controlled space this summer for guests who want to relax and enjoy the many grab-and-go food options,” Kendall explained.
The village has also initiated an ambassador program at the onset of the pandemic where staff members are on-site to help guide guests to open businesses, answer questions and manage safety protocols.
This summer Blue will also be introducing a complimentary bike valet.
“Beginning Saturday we’re also opening a new bike valet service with ambassadors on weekends in June and every day through the summer, another way to make access easy and convenient,” Kendall said.
The bike valet is located at the front entrance of the village and is expected to operate on weekends from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Visitors are being asked to maintain COVID-19 safety precautions including wearing face coverings, maintaining social distancing, sanitizing hands regularly, and following the pathway signs.
Indoor and outdoor dining has been prohibited since the beginning of the most recent provincial stay-at-home order, which was issued on April 7, as such business operators, village managers and staff are asking for patience as everyone finds their footing once again.
“It’s challenging to open under tight timelines, hire and train employees and receive all the food and beverages to provide full menus,” said Kendall. “We’re all eager to get back out to patios and we ask for everyone’s patience and understanding as we begin reopening on Friday, it will take some time to be fully operational."
Jennifer Golletz, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, CollingwoodToday.ca